Free Fiction Thursday – Jessie

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I don’t know about you, but I spent some quality time with the zombies and survivors of The Walking Dead this last weekend during AMC’s Walking Dead marathon. The marathon was a promo for season 4 which doesn’t start until October, so a marathon in July only makes me realize how long a wait it’s going to be for the next new episode.

All those Walking Dead episodes put me in the mood for some zombie fiction.  I wrote “Jessie” while I was on the Oregon coast, and a favorite restaurant of mine makes a cameo appearance.  Since I’m getting ready to leave for the coast again this weekend, what better story to share for Free Fiction Thursday?  I hope you enjoy the story of Tommy and Jessie on the beach, and that your time along the coast is far more pleasant.

jessie2 cover interior
Jesse

Annie Reed

Tommy met Jessie on the beach.

He’d been wandering along the shore line, walking on the wet sand because it was easier, and playing keep away with the waves so his shoes wouldn’t get wet.  The day was cold and cloudy.  He was looking for driftwood to make a fire, but he wasn’t looking all that hard.  This part of the beach was sheltered from the big part of the ocean by a sand bar, and for some reason there was a lot of driftwood here.  Everything from dry twigs and bark to huge old tree trunks covered with big black splotches that looked like they’d come from a burned out forest about a million years ago.  Tommy wanted to climb on top of the biggest ones and see what he could see, but Leon always told him to stay off the logs, it wasn’t safe, just like Leon had told him to walk along the water because the sick wouldn’t go in the water and it was one way to get away from them.

That hadn’t turned out to be true, but Tommy still walked along the water’s edge like Leon told him to even though Leon wasn’t there anymore.

Tommy had just picked up a piece of wood about the size of his forearm when he saw her sitting on top of a huge log near the water’s edge, watching him.

“You’re not supposed to be up there,” he said.

She stuck her tongue out at him.  “Says who?”

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Jessie

Good morning!  Happy Thursday, Internets!

I don’t know about you, but I spent way too much time this last weekend watching AMC’s The Walking Dead third-season preview marathon.  I can’t wait for the up-coming season.  Maybe I should dive into the novel to get the background on The Governor, who will be showing up in season three.  Anybody here read The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor?  How did you like it?

In the meantime, since I’ve been in a zombie apocalypse survivor mood, this week’s Free Fiction Thursday story is one of five zombie survivor stories in my collection THE PATIENT Z FILES, which is on sale for 50% off the cover price at Smashwords through the month of July.  I hope you enjoy “Jessie.”

JESSIE

Annie Reed

Copyright © 2011 Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Cover illustration Copyright Andreas Gradin | Dreamstime.com

Cover layout by Thunder Valley Press

Tommy met Jessie on the beach.

He’d been wandering along the shore line, walking on the wet sand because it was easier, and playing keep away with the waves so his shoes wouldn’t get wet.  The day was cold and cloudy.  He was looking for driftwood to make a fire, but he wasn’t looking all that hard.  This part of the beach was sheltered from the big part of the ocean by a sand bar, and for some reason there was a lot of driftwood here.  Everything from dry twigs and bark to huge old tree trunks covered with big black splotches that looked like they’d come from a burned out forest about a million years ago.  Tommy wanted to climb on top of the biggest ones and see what he could see, but Leon always told him to stay off the logs, it wasn’t safe, just like Leon had told him to walk along the water because the sick wouldn’t go in the water and it was one way to get away from them.

That hadn’t turned out to be true, but Tommy still walked along the water’s edge like Leon told him to even though Leon wasn’t there anymore.

Tommy had just picked up a piece of wood about the size of his forearm when he saw her sitting on top of a huge log near the water’s edge, watching him.

“You’re not supposed to be up there,” he said.

She stuck her tongue out at him.  “Says who?”

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Dead Things

Good morning, everyone! Hope your Thursday and your week are going well so far. Ready for a little free fiction?

A tension-filled drive down a rain-slicked coastal highway provides the setting for “Dead Things,” a story about a man who fantasized for years about killing his wife. He never quite had the courage to do the deed, but the lines between fantasy and reality blur when they reach an ugly stretch of dead marshland. What’s the old adage? Be careful what you wish for?

Enjoy!

DEAD THINGS

Copyright © 2012 Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Cover and layout Copyright © 2012 Thunder Valley Press

Cover art © 2012 Annie Reed

The damn trees gave Jerry the creeps.

Mired in mud along the ugliest stretch of Highway 101 known to man, the dead forest looked like the aftermath of a nuclear blast.  Stripped of needles and bark, the massive trunks lay strewn like ancient skeletons across marshy wetlands on the ocean side of the highway.  Gnarled branches reached like arthritic fingers toward the sodden Oregon sky.  Jerry had a sudden vision of dead things hauling themselves out of all that muck.  He gripped the wheel tighter and edged the accelerator down, pushing the car over seventy.

He could have predicted his wife’s reaction.

“Slow down,” she said, like he was some stupid little kid who needed scolding.  “You want to get us both killed?”

Well, maybe not the both of them.

The wipers beat double time against sheeting rain blown sideways from out over the sullen, gray ocean.  It had been raining since Coos Bay.  Even running the wipers on high, Jerry could barely see the damn road.  His shoulders ached from mile after mile, hour after long hour, of driving when he couldn’t really see.  It was a wonder he even noticed the damn trees through all the rain.

“Jerry!”  His wife’s voice was shrill, like it always got when he ignored her.

He eased up on the accelerator.  Doing seventy on wet pavement was just asking for trouble anyway.

The thought had no more than crossed his mind when he felt the rear tires begin to slide.

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Names in the Sand

Howdy, Internets!  How about a free short story to celebrate this day before Friday?

Last month I spent some time on the Oregon coast, mostly for workshops, but this time the weather and my schedule cooperated, and I got some quality beach time.  This story was inspired by some of that time I spent on the beach.

Names in the Sand

Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed

http://www.annie-reed.com

Cover photograph by the author, layout by Thunder Valley Press

 

Cissy wrapped her leather jacket more firmly around her shoulders and tried not to think about what the wind was doing to her hair.  She’d saved up for months for a trip to the beach.  She’d be damned if the cold snap was going to stop her from enjoying the sound of the surf and the sea birds, and the laughter of the few brave kids out on the sand playing keep-away with the waves.

At least the sun was out, not that it was doing all that much good to keep her warm.  She’d dressed in layers, something menopausal women learned to do for self-preservation against unexpected hot flashes.  She could use a good hot flash right about now.  Even with the leather jacket on top of her windbreaker on top of her sweatshirt on top of her blouse, she was still freezing.  If she didn’t warm up soon, she’d have to give up staring at the ocean from behind the concrete retaining wall that separated the parking lot from the beach a good ten feet below, and go watch the waves from the warmth of her car.

The kids on the beach didn’t seem to feel the cold.  Cissy watched a group of teenagers — two girls and three boys — tramp across the sand wearing nothing but shorts and t-shirts.  The boys were carrying boogie boards, the girls beach towels.  Wires trailed down from their ears to whatever MP3 players they had stuffed in their pockets.  Cissy wondered if they even heard the sound of the waves over whatever music was popular with teenagers these days.

Someone had written a name on the sand — SPENCER — stomped out in huge, rambling letters  above the high tide mark.  The teenagers walked right through the letters, smearing the S and the tail of the P and taking the top off the E and the N before they headed down toward the waves, leaving the rest of the name alone.

What a shame.  Someone had gone to a lot of trouble to leave his name in the sand in a spot where the waves wouldn’t obliterate it.  For a moment Cissy thought about going down to the beach and fixing the smeared letters, but her legs gave her trouble these days, and slogging through dry sand would make her calves ache for days.  Poor Spencer, whoever he’d been, would have to settle for semi-posterity, at least until more children and teenagers and careless adults scuffed through his name entirely.

If Harry was still alive, he would have fixed the letters for her.  Harry would have done anything for her, and he had for nearly thirty years.  He’d even sat by her side on innumerable park benches and picnic benches and glider swings, nose buried in a book or snoring quietly behind dark glasses, while Cissy sat and enjoyed the outdoors, no matter where that outdoors happened to be.  Sometimes she brought her crocheting with her, and sometimes she brought a book or a camera, but most of the time she just sat and watched the world go on around her.

This late spring visit to the Oregon coast was the first trip Cissy had taken since Harry passed away last November.  Her friends thought she was nuts to make the trip by herself.  Amanda was certain Cissy’s car would break down in some back roads town and she’d be set upon by thieves who’d think a middle-aged woman traveling alone was easy pickings.  Nora thought Cissy would attract the attention of “unsavory types,” which in Nora’s book was anyone who didn’t have six figures in a money market account and houses on both coasts with a condo or two somewhere in the middle.

Cissy’s daughter was the only one who had simply wished Cissy a good time.  “Have fun, Mom,” she’d said, her voice scratchy over the old cell phone Cissy refused to replace with one of the new smart phone models.  “You deserve it.”

Cissy wasn’t so sure about that.  How does a woman who wished for her husband to die deserve to have fun living the rest of her life without him?

(read the rest of the story here)